Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Verbal Domination

I wish I had something very witty to write about. Only I don’t. I don’t think this even falls under the category of moderately witty, which is a shame.

So, I have this dream. And this dream is to be a phrase trend-setter. Specifically to take archaic phrases from various time periods and bring them back into vogue. That, or to make up new and interesting phrases and see them proliferated into everyday speech. Like every good campaign, you have to start at home, which is what I have done. Cue conversation last night with Mr. F.:

Mr. F.: I am starting to feel like a parrot.
Me: Why do you say that?
Mr. F.: Because I am saying words and phrases I don’t normally say.

He then described how he thinks “oi!” when anything bad happens……a word that I say repeatedly. He has also started quoting movies that he has never seen because I quote them so often. (e.g. “I saw something nasty in the woodshed!”) You see? Soon my verbal domination will be complete.

So some phrases that I would really like to see incorporated into modern speak. And yes, I make no bones about the fact that some of these are stolen directly from Georgette Heyer novels. The fact that these phrases spring quickly to mind should indicate my dependence on regency novels as modes of entertainment.

To set one’s cap—to try to catch a sweetheart or husband. A lady puts on her most becoming cap to attract the gentleman's attention and admiration.

Sr. Loco has a habit of setting his cap for any new student at the lab.

Foxed—Inebriated or drunk.

My brother was decidedly foxed when he asked me to dance at my sister’s wedding.

Hoyden—a tomboy; a girl who behaves in a boisterous and unladylike manner.

As my brother’s only playmate, my sister grew up an absolute hoyden.

Come up to scratch--make an offer of marriage.

After endless hinting on my part, Mr. F. finally came up to scratch.

The latest on dit--French phrase meaning, "It is said" or "One says". In Regency slang, it meant gossip

The latest on dit at the lab involved the rapid dissolution of the chemistry department.

You slay me!—That’s funny!

Flat tire—a bore

BO Boy was such a flat tire when he started talking about economics.

Bee’s knees, elephant's eyebrows, gnat's whistle, eel's hips—great.

I pretty much think Mr. F. is the bee’s knees and the eel’s hips.

Diggy Do—to be used as part of a conjunctive phrase

I made some calls to Columbia regarding the little mermaid and…diggy do, you were right. (This American Life, Recording for someone, act one.)

Other random phrases I use:

Bless me buttons-- used when I sneeze.

Like buttah--to describe something that is smooth, tasty, all around good. Could be used as an adverb or adjective.

All that and a bag of chips--to describe something great....often used with sarcastic overtones.

So, any pet phrases of yours that you would like to share? Phrases you would like to see revived? Do tell!

1 comment:

Heather said...

You and I are so similar! I do this all the time. My favorite thing is to use gangsta phrases in my total white girl voice...the other day I told Ben I was at a pool party that was off the hook! :) At least I get laughs for those...when I use my Regency speak, I just get puzzled looks.

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